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Chill pillow: The Hibr is literally cool to the touch

I’ve been ready for summer to be over since the end of June, so I was pretty interested to try out the Hibr pillow. The product of a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, it’s a memory foam pillow that promises a cooler sleep.

That’s literal. It’s meant to regulate body temperature as you sleep, thanks to its special material. The foam has embedded capsules, known as bidirectional thermo-regulating capsules, that undergo a phase change when they heat up. The pillow both absorbs and releases heat, depending on the “microclimate” around it. A layer of gel helps keep the surface cool — the surface of one side only, actually. The other is regular foam. I tested out the pillow during some wickedly hot weather.

The pillow comes wrapped in plastic in a long, narrow box. It wasn’t compressed, and came about as puffed out as it would get. It was covered in a soft, zippered pillowcase that supposedly also helps regulate airflow. One side — the non-cool side — is white, while the other side is light blue. There are three varieties: simple, side, and silhouette. The simple is shaped like a traditional pillow, the side is a bit like a neck pillow you see in airports, and the contour dips in the middle and is meant for those with sleep problems. I opted for the side, since that’s how I sleep.

The blue side of the pillow really is cool to the touch. It’s not like an ice cube, but it almost feels slightly damp. The pillow itself is soft and squishy, but still firm. It worked great alone if I lay on my stomach, but I had to prop it up a little higher when side-sleeping. I also occasionally caught whiff of a chemical-y smell coming from the pillow. And at $79, it’s probably the most expensive pillow I’ve ever slept on.

I used the pillow over the course of two weeks, and my sleep tracker didn’t notice many differences in my sleep. I didn’t fall asleep faster or wake up less frequently. But putting my face against a cool pillow was definitely preferable to the alternative on those August nights. In fact, I kind of wished the entire bed had been made of cooling foam…

Hibr actually is going to release an accompanying mattress this fall. Considering the “Egyptian method” of staying cool during summer involves sleeping with damp sheets, it might be nice to be fully ensconced in that gel.

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